While some students are just beginning to prepare for the upcoming school year, members of the Richmond Hill High School marching band have been hard at work since mid-July.
Starting July 18, 193 students began practicing for the upcoming season by learning the first of three parts of their 2016 show "Spellbound." The show, based on magic, will follow the story of a sorcerer dabbling in magic who gets out of control in his practice and must overcome his struggles in the end. The music contains parts of "The Sorcerer’s Apprentice" and "Night on Bare Mountain."
The band has practiced from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, focusing on learning marching techniques, perfecting the drill and music for the first part of the show, and getting into shape for the season. This led to their first public performance of the show on July 29, when friends and family of the students gathered to watch.
The staff available to the band is limited, which is why almost 30 students help keep the group in check. From section leaders to captains to drum majors, each category of leadership has a different responsibility to help the "rookies" get off on the right foot and keep the band running smoothly.
"It’s going to be a great year to be a Wildcat," band director Danny Kiene said. "It’s the biggest band we’ve ever had, with super smart students, great student leadership and great support from the Board of Education and administration."
Jonathan Rennie, one of three drum majors, agrees.
"We have the best rookies that we’ve had in the four years that I’ve been here," he said. "We’re learning fast and will be able to put a lot of interesting and complex visuals into the show. The student leadership is really young, which is good because that is the golden time where students want to fix things the most, in those middle years of high school."
So far, the band is looking at attending three to four competitions in Georgia as the year progresses. Last year, the band’s show "Invasion" won three of the four competitions entered, becoming grand champions of the Georgia Marching Band Series for 2015. The band also participated in the National Cherry Blossom Parade in the spring, and Kiene has said he would like to have the band do a major event every other year, such as the Rose Bowl Parade in California or the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.
New band room
The Board of Education also recently approved a new band room at the high school, which will cost about $600,000. The original band room was built to support approximately 60 people, while the new band room will be more than double the size of the original with more storage. It is expected to be completed by late September or early October. Until its completion, the band has been using the cafeterias for indoor practice.